Murdoch on the Ropes

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James Murdoch fielding questions in parliament / REUTERS

James Murdoch, heir apparent of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, came out swinging in questioning before the British parliament’s culture and media committee yesterday. He faced renewed accusations from two senior News of the World executives that he had been warned more than three years ago that phone hacking at the newspaper extended well beyond a single journalist – charges Murdoch heatedly denies.

In recent weeks, evidence has surfaced suggesting that the British newspaper had not just tapped the phones of isolated celebrities, royalty and government officials, but had engaged in a far more widespread campaign of surveillance. Before the committee, Murdoch was likened to a Mafia boss who created a corporate culture of omerta.

Sweep to James Murdoch phone hacking

 

A massive corruption trial involving India’s telecom industry is just starting in Delhi, riveting much of the nation. Some 150 witnesses are expected to be called in the trial, in which government officials are accused of shaving the cost of mobile frequency licenses in exchange for kickbacks.

The alleged crimes are believed to have deprived Indian taxpayers of some $40 billion and have deeply embarrassed the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Among the accused is the nation’s former telecommunications minister, Andimuthu Raja, and 13 other business and government officials. They face charges of criminal conspiracy, bribery, misuse of office and forgery. All are maintaining their innocence.

Sweep to India telecoms trial gets underway

 

Alcoa, the aluminum company, has come up with a novel strategy for defending itself against charges it bribed officials in Bahrain. It is asking a Pittsburgh judge to reopen a civil case against the company, saying it will offer the company a chance to clear its name.

In 2008, Aluminum Bahrain, or Alba, brought the suit against Alcoa, alleging officials at the US company had used intermediaries and bribes to manipulate the price of alumina, which is used to make aluminum. The accusations caught the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which asked the court to put the civil case on hold while it conducted a criminal investigation to determine whether Alcoa had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

With the criminal investigation dragging on, Alcoa officials said, they wanted to clear the company’s name by having the charges aired in civil court. The Justice Department is opposing Alcoa’s request, saying it could compromise the criminal investigation.

Sweep to Alcoa wants Bahrain bribery case restarted

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo is co-founding executive editor of 100Reporters and an award-winning former foreign, national and cultural correspondent for The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun.

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